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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Put aside the policy fights for a moment: The debate over whether Trump administration officials deserve to peacefully eat a meal in public tells us a lot about Democratic politics in 2018.

Why it matters: Public shaming and incivility isn't just a nasty expression of outrage. It's targeted at making life difficult, and even serving as a deterrent, for public servants who carry out controversial agendas, writes Brian Beutler, the editor of The Pod Save America website.

Dividing lines:

  • On one side: Centrists and establishment Democrats, driven by respect for norms and a belief that public service deserves respect and civility.
  • On the other: The rising tide of young Democrats and the Resistance, driven by a belief that Republicans aren't interested in civility or compromise.

The big picture: The pro-civility crowd is dominating the airwaves and establishment media. The verdict is less obvious on social media.

What they're saying:

  • Maxine Waters: “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd … tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”
  • Nancy Pelosi: Called Waters' response "predictable but unacceptable."
  • Cory Booker: “We’ve got to get to a point in our country where we can talk to each other... some of those tactics that people are advocating for, to me, don’t reflect that spirit.”
  • Arne Duncan: "No matter how much we dislike or disagree with someone, we should not deny them the chance to have a meal."
  • David Axelrod: "Rousting Cabinet members from restaurants is an empty and, ultimately, counter-productive gesture that won’t change a thing."

P.S. Speaking of incivility: President Trump tweeted today that "Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person... has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!"

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

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The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

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Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.